Monday, April 12, 2010
This film is better than a Nike commercial in terms of being inspiring to "just do it"! I love that this guy found his bliss, fame and made millions of dollars because it never occurred to him that he couldn't. The guy I'm referring to is Thierry Guetta a.k.a Mr. Brainwash.
PFS screened this documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, a couple of months ago, but I wasn't able to attend, so I was glad when they added it to the Saturday screenings during this weekend's Spring Preview Film Fest. It's sort of a documentary about turning the tables on a documentary filmmaker, only that documentary filmmaker never really intended to make a documentary.
Thierry Guetta (born in France) made a living owning a vintage clothing store in Los Angeles, but his hobby was filming with a hand held camera. Filming anything and everything around him, basically just seeing the world through a lens. Eventually this hobby lead him to filming street art/graffiti, which lead to late night outings into the streets of LA to discover these underground artists, befriend them and earn their trust, particularly Shepard Fairey, of the Andre the Giant "Obey" icon and Space Invader, creator of the video game creature mosaics. These artists, along with countless others, plaster their work all over building and bridges etc... in cities like NY, London, Paris, LA, it's almost like tattooing the world or creating a portfolio for all to see.
Like with any hobby or obsession, there's always your "Moby Dick", and for Thierry's it is the artist, Banksy, who is the most stealth, secretive, creative graffiti and installation artist known today.
I'm not going to give away anymore of the plot, but it is a hilarious, incredibly nutty telling of Thierry's rise from onlooker to world famous pop art genius - Mr. Brainwash. I wouldn't say his fame came by accident, but neither did it come by traditional means. There's a humorous, and probably feigning resentful admission by Banksy, when he expresses, Thierry broke all the rules, although in art there shouldn't be any rules, but he broke the rules. Which is true. This crazy man just totally lives by following his instincts. His art comes from mimicking the artists around him, although it's not plagiarism. He calls himself Mr. Brainwash, because he feels that's what these artists are doing, making people think something is important, just because you see it everywhere and don't know it's origins. However, he isn't mocking the artists either. He just guilelessly tries his hand at it, but on a large, large scale! To fabulous success!